by Dan Conti, Kentucky Public Radio
Congressman Ben Chandler says one of the main causes of today’s historic trillion dollar federal budget deficit is the tax cuts that were approved during the Bush Administration. The Versailles Democrat made the comment during an interview on KET’s One to One program.
Chandler says tax policy under President Clinton produced a budget surplus but the lower rates championed by President Bush mostly benefited the rich.
“These were the largest tax cuts that we’ve had, maybe ever, but certainly in a very long time,” he said. “And they are a tremendous cause of the deficits that we’re looking at right now. And most of those tax cuts went to the very wealthiest people in this country.”
Chandler says wealthy people today have more money as a percentage of the economy than they’ve ever had in the history of the U.S.
“It’s kept us from having the ability to properly fund things like Medicare and Social Security,” he said. “So now people want to come along and say, ‘surprisingly, we don’t have the money to fund Medicare and Social Security.’ Well, of course we don’t. We’ve given all these big tax cuts to the wealthiest people in the country.
Chandler says he doesn’t like to hear programs like Social Security and Medicare referred to as “entitlements”. He says most recipients paid into those programs all their lives and earned the benefits.
Republicans argue that raising taxes on the wealthy will discourage investment in new economic development projects.